AT&T defends its data network from Verizon ad attacks

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
As Verizon has stepped up its efforts to portray AT&T's data network as sparse and largely unavailable, AT&T has published information that shows Verizon isn't telling the whole story.



Verizon began advertising its 3G coverage against AT&T's in a series of ads poking fun at Apple's "there's an app for that" iPhone commercials, presenting coverage maps of its own 3G CDMA/EVDO network in red against much more limited 3G service coverage maps for AT&T's 3G network presented in blue.



Verizon's 3G



The problem is that Verizon isn't actually comparing the two company's data networks; it restricts its comparison to "3G data" because outside of 3G, Verizon doesn't really have a data network; users revert to extremely slow CDMA 1xRTT service, which only provides dialup speed data access.



Verizon began deploying EVDO Rev A as its 3G service enhancement in 2003, and by mid 2007 announced that its entire data network had been migrated over to the faster 3G technology, allowing download speeds of 0.6 to 1.4 Mbit and slightly slower upload speeds.



However, Verizon still says on its website that for users "in Mobile Broadband markets that do not yet have EV-DO Rev. A, you can expect download speeds of 400 to 700 Kbps and upload speeds of 60- to 80 Kbps."



There is no distinguishing between these two levels of service (one being similar to EDGE, the other being roughly twice as fast) on Verizon's coverage maps.



Plans to upgrade beyond Rev A to EVDO Rev B or Ultra Mobile Broadband were put on hold when global carriers began to move away from Qualcomm's CDMA carrier technologies to 3GPP UMTS, the emerging global standard for mobile networks. Verizon now plans to begin deploying LTE, which represents the next generation of UMTS mobile networking, but is still years away from viable use. That means Verizon's existing 3G network is mature and set in place, with little potential for performance enhancement.



AT&T's data networks



During the time Verizon was selling its slow CDMA 1xRTT data earlier in the decade, AT&T was building out GPRS, the similarly slow, dialup speed data alternative associated with GSM networks globally. However, AT&T also began deploying EDGE, a "2.5G" service enhancement that supplies typical download speeds of around 0.4 Mbit, approaching the low end of Verizon's EVDO Rev A 3G.



In 2005, AT&T began rolling out its first true UMTS 3G service, which enabled data service of up to 3.6 Mbit, significantly faster than Verizon's EVDO. The company is now in the process of rolling out 7.4 Mbit enhanced UMTS data service in certain cities, including Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. It plans to have the faster 7.2 3G service in 25 of its top 30 markets by the end of next year, and to reach 90% of its 3G network by the end of 2011. By then, AT&T says it will begin deploying the faster LTE as well.



This year however, the company reports having installed an additional 2,000 cell sites to extend or improve service coverage. This includes deploying new 850 MHz 3G service which existing phones can use, as well as augmenting its mobile network with the largest WiFi hotspot network in the US, with 20,000 sites. Apple has worked with AT&T to setup automatic, free login to AT&T's WiFi networks on the iPhone whenever users come within range. WiFi offers far faster network speeds than any type of 3G network, in the typical range of around 5 Mbps.



Verizon's 3G ruse



This historical setting allows Verizon to compare its entire data network against just the faster portion of AT&T's 3G mobile data network while ignoring AT&T's existing 2.5G network that approaches Verizon's EVDO in speed. By only comparing the newest segment of AT&T's network, Verizon can advertise "3G maps" that are technically accurate, but grossly misleading to users who want to obtain data service to download email and access the web.



It also appears that Verizon is counting its service areas providing less than Rev A service as part of its 3G coverage, when in fact these deliver about the same performance as AT&T's EDGE service.







Verizon doesn't mention that the network data activities it presents in its advertisements don't require 3G service and will work with any data service. Nor does it call attention to the fact that AT&T's 3G network is already as much as twice as fast as its own, and is in the process of being upgraded to even faster service.



Verizon's own LTE upgrade plans won't kick in for at least another year or two and won't be available to existing phone users (as new LTE phones will be required to use it); modern phones like the iPhone 3GS can already use the faster 7.2 Mbit service AT&T is in the process of deploying.







The fine print in Verizon's ads notes that its "five times more" 3G maps and comparisons relate only to surface area in square miles, not to the percentage of coverage of actual population centers. AT&T says its entire data network reaches more than 296 million users, or 98% of the population, while its 3G service is available in 9,400 cities in 350 metropolitan areas in the US. Most users are more interested in getting data service where they live and work rather than knowing there is a certain number of square miles of land with Verizon's 3G service.



That has prompted AT&T to sue to stop Verizon's ads, while also publishing updates on its own network upgrades.



AT&T is also working to expand its trial of the 3G MicroCell, used to patch remaining service holes with users' own Internet access, from the original test markets in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. On October 5, the trial was expanded to include Atlanta, GA and Columbia, SC. Yesterday it added a pilot program in San Diego, CA. The company has still not yet committed to a date for its nationwide launch, however.



Verizon's ads targeting AT&T are the company's best bet in defending steep losses as its parade of iPhone-killers fail to attract attention. AppleInsider earlier reported that Apple is believed to be developing a "worldmode" iPhone that can work across both AT&T's UMTS and Verizon's EVDO networks.



Until that arrives next year, Verizon can only advertise that the iPhone on AT&T doesn't really have enough usable service coverage, despite the fact that iPhone users consume around half of the country's mobile data bandwidth. In the meantime, observers point out that its "there's a map for that" ads really only serve to advertise the iPhone App Store, a subject Verizon should probably just ignore.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    AppleInsider earlier reported that Apple is believed to be developing a "worldmode" iPhone that can work across both AT&T's UMTS and Verizon's EVDO networks.



    If the iPhone does come to Verizon Wireless I pray Apple can keep Verizon Wireless from butchering it's software like they do with so many of their phones.
  • Reply 2 of 221
    "Du calme, du calme!"



    Everything is already in the hands of AT&T's experts and lawyers. They know what they do.



    EDGE is 3G technology, it's commonly recognized despite all popular inventions of 2.5G or 2,3333333...G.



    The fact is phones display 3G indicator lacking the screen estate and people, being far from technical subjects, believe this is exact identifier of the best service they manage to get right now.

    This is not correct classification and is not acceptable when it comes to sensitive matters like those maps and the squabble around.



    The official coverage maps of both AT&T and VZW call it more precisely and properly: "3G/Broadband". It's exactly what should have been made clear to the audience of those ads.

    VZW shows the map of AT&T's "3G/Broadband" coverage, and just "Enhanced services" (corresponding to EDGE) of themselves. This is indeed a bit playful comparison.



    Formally, the message "3G coverage map" is willingly incorrect in the case of AT&T. They rightfully sue VZW over it. They have all chances to win.



    P.S. VZW, get over it. See, I'm giving you the idea of an irreproachable ad. Take the heap of coverage maps of small no-name carriers and mvnos. Take AT&T's maps, if you like it so bad. Make them fade in and overlap the map of the States and one another. Do not name competitors. Then put your pretty dense red map on top of all that junk and say "We're with you everywhere to deliver the best service". Voila! Everyone's happy.
  • Reply 3 of 221
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    AT&T has published information that shows Verizon isn't telling the whole story.



    I doubt that Verizon would even claim that it's telling the whole story. It's called marketing, folks. And really isn't any different than when Apple claimed "twice as fast" for the iPhone 3G. There were far more footnotes on those ads than there are on Verizon's. There are people suing Apple for those claims, and that barely got a mention on AI and those people were scoffed at on these message boards as being uninformed buyers who should have done their research before making their purchase.



    Why is this different? Why is AI writing an entire article defending poor ATT as a victim? Seems a bit hypocritical to me. No, the ads don't tell the "whole story", but what ad does? You talk about your strengths and the competition's weaknesses. And it work's both ways. You can't say it's the iPhone 3G customer's fault for not understanding what Apple's "twice as fast" claims mean in the real world and then turn around and not expect the same diligence on the part of a the customer when it comes to Verizon's ads.
  • Reply 4 of 221
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    I'll leave this ad war garbage up to the carriers. What I do care about is the problems that AT&T has in New York. While AT&T may be deploying the 7.2 3G virtually everywhere, I don't believe that New York isn't one of them. Seriously AT&T, this is the #1 market in the country. You should be prioritizing your attention here. The city should be blanketed in coverage considering that a significant portion of iPhones are sold here and the iPhone is keeping you from losing subscribers.
  • Reply 5 of 221
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    This is an incredibly misleading article, with many factual errors (EDGE is 2.5G? Really?) and it completely misses the point. The problem with AT&T's network isn't the technology behind it, the problem is its capacity. AT&T simply doesn't have the capacity for all of these new data users.



    One of the graphs shows a typical data rate on AT&T 3G UMTS network of roughly 1Mbps (I assume the graph is in Mbps, there's no scale). That's a fantasy figure for most US city centres due to a lack of capacity.
  • Reply 6 of 221
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,569member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    I doubt that Verizon would even claim that it's telling the whole story. It's called marketing, folks. And really isn't any different than when Apple claimed "twice as fast" for the iPhone 3G. There were far more footnotes on those ads than there are on Verizon's. There are people suing Apple for those claims, and that barely got a mention on AI and those people were scoffed at on these message boards as being uninformed buyers who should have done their research before making their purchase.



    Why is this different? Why is AI writing an entire article defending poor ATT as a victim? Seems a bit hypocritical to me. No, the ads don't tell the "whole story", but what ad does? You talk about your strengths and the competition's weaknesses. And it work's both ways. You can't say it's the iPhone 3G customer's fault for not understanding what Apple's "twice as fast" claims mean in the real world and then turn around and not expect the same diligence on the part of a the customer when it comes to Verizon's ads.



    You hit the nail on the head. Why does AT&T even need defending on APPLEinsider?
  • Reply 7 of 221
    jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    Funny to think that all of this attention to the issue is because of one single phone.



    Also funny is that with all the years of Blackberry and WinMobile this issue was irrelevant!



    It's purely theoretical I know, but I wonder if the Verizon network would collapse with the weight of iPhones that AT&T has to accommodate.
  • Reply 8 of 221
    I routinely get 2+ MB/s second down and 800+ KB/s up on vzw in northern Indiana.
  • Reply 9 of 221
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by James Beatty View Post


    If the iPhone does come to Verizon Wireless I pray Apple can keep Verizon Wireless from butchering it's software like they do with so many of their phones.



    One of a thousand Verizon-related issues that would arise, that most tweedle-dorks around here have no concept of.
  • Reply 10 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    I doubt that Verizon would even claim that it's telling the whole story. It's called marketing, folks. And really isn't any different than when Apple claimed "twice as fast" for the iPhone 3G. There were far more footnotes on those ads than there are on Verizon's. There are people suing Apple for those claims, and that barely got a mention on AI and those people were scoffed at on these message boards as being uninformed buyers who should have done their research before making their purchase.



    Why is this different? Why is AI writing an entire article defending poor ATT as a victim? Seems a bit hypocritical to me. No, the ads don't tell the "whole story", but what ad does? You talk about your strengths and the competition's weaknesses. And it work's both ways. You can't say it's the iPhone 3G customer's fault for not understanding what Apple's "twice as fast" claims mean in the real world and then turn around and not expect the same diligence on the part of a the customer when it comes to Verizon's ads.



    I guess the difference is that AT&T is treating this as a serious threat and is campaigning against it, whereas all Apple did was defend itself in court and otherwise gave those customers a whole lot of no notice. I guess each method can work in its own way.
  • Reply 11 of 221
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    I doubt that Verizon would even claim that it's telling the whole story. It's called marketing, folks. And really isn't any different than when Apple claimed "twice as fast" for the iPhone 3G. There were far more footnotes on those ads than there are on Verizon's. There are people suing Apple for those claims, and that barely got a mention on AI and those people were scoffed at on these message boards as being uninformed buyers who should have done their research before making their purchase.



    Why is this different? Why is AI writing an entire article defending poor ATT as a victim? Seems a bit hypocritical to me. No, the ads don't tell the "whole story", but what ad does? You talk about your strengths and the competition's weaknesses. And it work's both ways. You can't say it's the iPhone 3G customer's fault for not understanding what Apple's "twice as fast" claims mean in the real world and then turn around and not expect the same diligence on the part of a the customer when it comes to Verizon's ads.



    Thank you. The lack of comprehension around here and the entire tech world when it comes to ADVERTISING is absolutely ridiculous. That, and half the people who create user names on forums/post on said forums, are around the age of the 14, so the effects of advertising can be understood.



    Why AI is such a hapless victim of marketing, I can't begin to explain....

  • Reply 12 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    This is an incredibly misleading article, with many factual errors (EDGE is 2.5G? Really?) and it completely misses the point. The problem with AT&T's network isn't the technology behind it, the problem is its capacity. AT&T simply doesn't have the capacity for all of these new data users.



    One of the graphs shows a typical data rate on AT&T 3G UMTS network of roughly 1Mbps (I assume the graph is in Mbps, there's no scale). That's a fantasy figure for most US city centres due to a lack of capacity.



    Really? Fantasy figure ? Have you used /tested iPhone in multiple U.S cities? Or, is that just what you have been hearing? I did a lot traveling past several months, and I haven't experienced any issues other than NYC, where my iPhone would sometimes drop to EDGE to get a signal in middle of buildings, and still then weak or barely a signal. When it catches a glimpse of the 3G signal it will turn 3G back on, only to revert back to EDGE shortly after, It's the switching back in forth that will drop/miss calls.



    I ran a good number tests for all the places I was in, and speeds were pretty good. Instances where speeds were low, many were related to poor latency most likely from the surrounding obstructions, not lack of capacity. Nearly all AT&T 3G runs on a high frequency spectrum, which is not good at penetrating buildings and ground obstructions. AT&T is moving over to the low frequency spectrum, supposedly it's nearly complete.



    I seldom saw poor network performance due to capacity issues in the cities I was in. When & where it was slow, it was slow morning, night, and day... where amount of traffic would vary.



    I live in Memphis, and surprisingly my average 3G speeds around my house downtown keep getting better. I was seeing upper end speeds of 700kb last fall, 1.3Mbs this winter, 1,7Mbs this spring, and 2.2Mbs now. I hadn't had a dropped call since last summer, when on occasion call would be dropped driving in rush hour traffic. In my area, it seems it's improved even with considerable increase in network consumption. But for the handful of spots that are poor, are still bad, and probably will remain that way. And many of those that switched to AT&T live in those bad spots. It's likely that the reason they weren't on AT&T, is because they had been with another carrier for years which was probably the legacy pioneer cell provider in that area.
  • Reply 13 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    . . . Verizon's ads targeting AT&T are the company's best bet in defending steep losses as its parade of iPhone-killers fail to attract attention. . .



    This is the point that all you "tweedle-dorks" (thanks, pmz, for this lovely, new-to-me, term) are missing with your flame-fanning posts.



    There are some facts in this article which a dwindling number of us here can appreciate. But all these damn acronyms can get pretty confusing.



    The facts that I care anything about are what I observe for myself:



    1. I see a LOT of iPhones in use out there on a daily basis which I don't even look for.

    2. I've been a happy AT&T customer for nearly TWO DECADES.

    3. My wireless calls connect and don't get dropped far more often than not.

    4. I've seen ONE G1 phone and NO Palm Pre's so far.

    5. Apple chose AT&T. That's testimony in itself.

    6. I don't drink coffee, but Starbucks chose AT&T. More testimony.

    7. I've heard of AT&T hot spots. I haven't heard of Verizon hotspots.
  • Reply 14 of 221
    It's interesting to see how AT&T has very limited 3.6 Mbps coverage, and a 7.2 Mbps coverage limited to only a couple of cities while in Europe it's EDGE for almost 98% of the population, 7.2 Mbps coverage por almost all the small cities (20.000 inhabitants and up) and 21 Mbps (HSPA+) for selected cities.

    Verizon on the other hand barely has EDGE speeds and announces them as 3G speeds. Quite lame IMHO.



    It's like the US is a year or two behind Europe and Asia, cellphone-wise that is.
  • Reply 15 of 221
    Carrier wars?



    LOL. They should know by now that the hardware makes your carrier. AT&T is proof. You can have a lousy carrier, and that will present some natural limitations, but if you've got the device(s) everyone wants, you'll do fine. Obviously, there's a limit to what people will put up with, but as we've seen, they're willing to put up with a lot.
  • Reply 16 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    Thank you. The lack of comprehension around here and the entire tech world when it comes to ADVERTISING is absolutely ridiculous. That, and half the people who create user names on forums/post on said forums, are around the age of the 14, so the effects of advertising can be understood.



    Why AI is such a hapless victim of marketing, I can't begin to explain....





    Agreed. However, there has been a few trends lately that is prompting this kind of response. For one, the prevalence of the Internet has made people more aware of the deception of advertising, whereas in the past people were more likely to believe the claims of advertising. And two, the news media, once relied on to provide unbiased reporting, has increasingly been reporting based on sensationalism to drive ad revenue.



    The end result is that people are aware of deception around them and are seeking/demanding some source of unbiased information.
  • Reply 17 of 221
    Verizon is in trouble. They have no plan to expand their current 3G network...and 4G is many years away. Their 3G is capped at 1.4MB.....while AT&T is already at 3MB and going to 7MB then 14MB.



    I predict we will see the DROID Users start complaining about their service real soon.



    AT&T needs to create some nifty commercials to relay this to the public.
  • Reply 18 of 221
    I have an iPhone and AT&T, but I really have to call BS on this article. I live in an area that doesn't yet have 3G so I know first hand what EDGE is like. Also up until August when I switched to AT&T for the iPhone I had Verizon with a Blackberry 8330 which is EVDO rev.0. I can assure you that my blackberry on verizon (evdo rev.0) was light years faster than my iPhone is on EDGE.



    I think that things were completely jumbled up when the author went to write this article. He says that EDGE gets .4 Mbps which is 400 Kbps, which is equal to the lower end slower EVDO (which is rev. 0). This comparison is completely bogus. 400 Kbps is the theoretical upper end on EDGE when using 4 timeslots. The actual capacity of EDGE even with 4 timeslots is 236.8 kbit/s



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhance...ion_techniques



    Ok even if we take the 236.8 Kbps figure, that does approach some slower EVDO speeds. The problem with that is that areas that do not yet have 3G service were not big enough to have 4 timeslots allocated for EDGE, so there is no way to reach those speeds for people who are still stuck on the 2.5G EDGE network (as far as I know this type of deployment was only installed in large cities because of the original 2G iPhone). I just did a bandwidth test from my iPhone and i got about 110 Kbps down, which is actually pretty good. I have never seen it go above 120 Kbps.



    In my experience I typically saw between 300-700 Kbps on EVDO.



    You can't compare a theoretical maximum (that isn't even widely deployed) to low end typical results. I see this type of analysis quite often in the tech industry and it really bugs me. I do agree that Verizon's ads were misleading, mainly because they do mislead you to think that there is no data service in the white areas on AT&T's map, which I can assure you from personal experience is not true (and EDGE with full bars works well enough when I need to pull up some information). However, the type of analysis that was used in this article is just as disingenuous as the Verzion commercial was.
  • Reply 19 of 221
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by imike12706 View Post


    I routinely get 2+ MB/s second down and 800+ KB/s up on vzw in northern Indiana.



    That's impressive considering that no US carrier offers those speeds. I think you must mean Mb & Kb & not MB & KB.
  • Reply 20 of 221
    On multiple occasions, when I'm driving from New York to Chicago or back, Verizon gives solid 3G coverage pretty much everywhere I go - even in the areas of Pennsylvania, where AT&T has no coverage at all. I'm able to stream music at 256kbps during the entire trip, while on AT&T I only have 3G coverage for less than 1 hour out of 13 hour trip.



    It's a shame I have to use Verizon's MiFi 2200 to get any sort of meaningful 3G coverage on my iPhone



    AT&T's UMTS network might _in theory_ offer higher speeds, but in reality it's a far cry from Verizon's EvDO: I don't get 3G service most of the time, and even when I do get it, it's still slower than Verizon's EvDO. And also, the latency is 2-3 times worse on AT&T's network, even if I manage to get a decent speed: about 200-300ms, versus Verizon's 80-100ms.



    If iPhone was available on Verizon's network - I'd switch in no time.



    P.S. Right now in New Jersey I'm getting a little bit over 2 megabit download speed via Verizon's MiFi 2200, and barely a bar on my iPhone. While iPhone does show the "3G" badge, there's basically no data coming through - I had to turn its wifi on, so it can connect to MiFi 2200. And I'm only about 8 miles from Manhattan, living in a rather highly populated and open area.
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